Steve Alford held his weekly Tuesday press conference a day early because of the game tonight against the Fort Wayne Mastodons.
The presser was filled with coachspeak, some news, and one interesting tidbit. First the interesting part: Fort Wayne is a team that relies on playing fast and transition points. Alford’s philosophy on defending such a transition offense:
One of the ways of handling transition defense is the type of shot you get, taking care of the basketball, not having live ball turnovers.
LOL! Okay, here we have a prime example on why Alford’s UCLA teams have stunk on defense. When talking about transition DEFENSE, Steve Alford discusses OFFENSE. In fairness to Alford there is truth in what he is saying but there are other factors that are actually defense he could have listed as well. I guess this is a prime example of why it is a good thing that Alford handed over the defense to assistant coach Barton.
The coachspeak part of the conference was, well, coach speak. He mentioned now that NCAA teams are allowed to start practice earlier, this team is “really ready to play.” In other words, they are tired of practicing and playing each other.
Next coachspeak was the “the mission of this team is to get better.” As opposed to getting worse? But I get it; Alford is saying that the team has to keep improving.
A little more coachspeak that is semi-relevant: “We foul too much. Fouling happens when you are out of position.“
The big news came on the injury front. Cody Riley got hurt running into Moses Brown. Moses is a BEAST. No timetable on Cody’s return yet. Alex Olesinski will probably be back for the Liberty game.
Alford says this is a very talkative group which will help defensively.
Since I went after Alford in the opening of these let me give him credit in the close. I must admit that I have thought Alford would use the injuries now as an excuse for underachieving later. To his credit, Alford acknowledges depth as one of the strengths of the team despite some guys out. This is still his deepest team but it is nice to hear Steve Alford say it.
No excuses. Let’s earn that Top 25 rating and blow out the Mastodons.